Original Annie star Andrea McArdle replaces pop star Toni Braxton as Belle March 3 in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Palace Theatre. Patrick Page takes over as Lumiere, coming in for Meshach Taylor. James Barbour remains as the Beast. McArdle made her Broadway debut at age 13 as the original orphan Annie in the Martin Charnin-Charles Strouse musical. Other Broadway credits include the original companies of Starlight Express, Les Miserables and State Fair. McArdle has toured the country as Eponine in Les Miz and Nancy in Oliver. A cabaret and concert performer, she recently sang the closing tribute at the World Cup Soccer Championship in France.
Page, who most recently finished playing Shakespeare's tyrannical Richard III in UT, has already appeared on Broadway as Lumiere -- the same role for which he won Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award in the national touring company. He also stood by for Marley and Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's A Christmas Carol.
Beauty and the Beast celebrated its 2000 performance Jan. 30. Based on the Disney animated movie of the same name, Beauty opened Apr. 18, 1994. The musical features music by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Beauty won a 1994 Tony Award for its costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and was nominated for eight others including best musical, best actor and actress and best direction.